oa South African Journal of Higher Education - The development of management accounting skills in situations where practical exposure is limited : the perceptions of training officers in South Africa

Volume 33 Number 4
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



Training office auditing firms in South Africa are required by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) training regulations to provide basic exposure to trainees on management accounting learning outcomes that are covered in theoretical aspects at tertiary education level. The purpose of this article was to determine (1) the ways in which large, medium-sized and small training office auditing firms in South Africa evaluate the competency of trainee accountants in the field of management accounting, (2) to what extent alternative skills transfer methods are used and (3) the perceptions of training officers of the use of simulation as a skills transfer method. These were done to identify learning outcome areas of which skills can already be developed at tertiary level, due to the lack of real-life exposure in practice. It is argued that the responsibility of developing skills of students in areas where practical exposure is limited lies with higher education institutions and not training office auditing firms. A web-based questionnaire was used.

This study showed that simulated training, either in-house, outsourced or a combination of the two, is actively used by a number of training office auditing firms in South Africa in order to assess competency in the field of management accounting where practical exposure through performing actual tasks is limited. Skill development simulated training are therefore proposed to be introduced at tertiary level to enable entry-level trainees to be equipped for practice. The study also revealed that training officers perceive simulation to be effective in the assessment of competency in management accounting residual skills competency areas. Simulation can therefore be seen as a valuable tool to use by higher education institutions in order to transfer skills in management accounting to its students.

The research is valuable to higher education institutions (with enrolled students studying towards becoming registered chartered accountants (CA) in South Africa) and SAICA (that develops the learning outcomes followed by these institutions through its syllabi), because it does not only provide an overview of how skills in management accounting are transferred to trainee accountants, but it also provides opportunities for syllabi re-alignments and simulated training at tertiary level.

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